Beartown

Beartown Chapter 39 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
A town councilor is on the phone, explaining to Tails that they can’t build a new hockey academy in Beartown in light of the accusation against Kevin. Tails knows what that loss would likely mean for the town—an economic collapse. He’s always believed that hockey allows the town to dream, but if the town stagnates, it will die. Peter comes into Tails’s supermarket then, but he shakes his head when Tails starts to approach him. Soon Tails goes shamefacedly into his office.
The explosive situation is already having potentially devastating consequences for Beartown as a whole, again highlighting how the fate of the hockey club affects the entire town. Peter reacts to Tails like Maya did to Ana. He’s scorned in the town right now and tries to protect his friend from being stained by association.
Themes
Community Breakdown and Inequality Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Kevin’s dad drives to the Hollow in his expensive car. He picks up Amat. He tells Amat that he grew up in an apartment block much like these, with a single mother. He knows about Fatima’s back trouble and says that he could arrange for her to see a good physiotherapist. After all, people in Beartown are supposed to look out for each other. He also offers Amat the business card of a personnel manager in Hed. Fatima can interview for some office work there. Then Mr. Erdahl falls silent, “as if that were the whole purpose of his visit.”
Mr. Erdahl uses his disadvantaged upbringing as a way to establish common ground with Amat. He also uses Fatima’s challenges as a way to manipulate Amat into staying silent about what he saw at the party. The irony of his attitude is that nobody in Beartown is looking out for Maya, and really, Mr. Erdahl isn’t looking out for Fatima either; everyone is just looking out for the interests of the hockey club.
Themes
Community Breakdown and Inequality Theme Icon
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Just as Amat is about to get out of the car, Mr. Erdahl tells him that though he might have thought he saw something at Kevin’s party, drinking puts strange ideas in people’s heads. He also asks abruptly if Amat is in love with Maya. Amat’s eyes fill with tears. Mr. Erdahl tells him that girls do strange things for attention, and that someday, when he turns professional, he’ll understand that girls like Maya aren’t to be trusted; “they’re like a virus.” Mr. Erdahl gives him five thousand-kronor notes for new skates and tells him the team needs to stick together. He growls like a bear and drives off.
Mr. Erdahl continues to manipulate Amat, appealing to his feelings for Maya. It’s also clear where Kevin gets some of his misogynistic views from, as Mr. Erdahl echoes the earlier language about how other people act like viruses. Mr. Erdahl concludes the interaction by attempting to buy off Amat for the price of a new pair of skates—something he knows Amat can’t afford and that could make a big difference to his playing.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Amat watches as the expensive car drives off. He doesn’t notice the cheaper Saab parked some distance away. Amat stands there for a long time, then wipes his eyes, drops something in the snow, and walks away. Eventually, the young man who’s tinkering with the engine of the Saab walks over and picks up a handful of crumpled, sweaty kronor notes from the ground. He puts them in his pocket. Amat goes home and looks at his too-small, peeling skates.
A member of The Pack is keeping an eye on the situation. Amat rejects the money Mr. Erdahl offered him—it’s a small act of resistance, but it shows that Amat isn’t going to capitulate altogether, even though doing so would help him and his mother. Here, Amat begins to show what it means to genuinely look out for other people.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Resistance and Courage Theme Icon
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The hockey team is having an optional training session in the forest. Mr. Erdahl drops Kevin off there, and his teammates cheer. David shakes Kevin’s and his dad’s hands. The club president is standing at the forest’s edge, and he meets David’s eyes briefly before going back to his office. If Kevin had come to the rink to practice, they would have had to say something about “principles and consequences,” but the president can’t stop a training session in the forest—“that’s what they all tell themselves.”
The hockey club is trying to get around the moral questions by training on neutral ground, but the reality is that there is no neutral ground in Beartown, and it’s abundantly clear that Kevin is being welcomed back on the team, literally with no questions asked. The adults all sense that they’re glossing over something, but no one has the courage to break the silence.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Kira takes the garbage out, a chore that used to be Maya’s, but it’s different now. Kira smells coffee from a neighbor’s house and wishes someone would invite her over—shared coffee being the customary gesture of hospitality in Beartown. But no one does. Meanwhile, across town, Mrs. Erdahl takes out the trash. One neighbor’s door, then another and another, opens as people invite her over for coffee.
It’s clear from this scene that Kira is being ostracized by the town, while Mrs. Erdahl is showered with sympathy and support. Contrary to what Mr. Erdahl told Amat, people in Beartown obviously don’t look out for each other when doing so might be risky.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon